Q&A: Small Business Administration’s Woman-Owned Business of the Year for Delaware

Jennifer McMillan of JennyGems

Delaware State News
Posted 5/2/22

JennyGems is a home-decor-and-gift brand that manufactures its products in Harbeson. JennyGems products are sold in its gift shop, in select boutiques and online.

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5.99 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.


Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Q&A: Small Business Administration’s Woman-Owned Business of the Year for Delaware

Jennifer McMillan of JennyGems

Posted

JennyGems is a home-decor-and-gift brand that manufactures its products in Harbeson. JennyGems products are sold in its gift shop, in select boutiques and online.

Name: Jennifer McMillan.

What is your business?: JennyGems: We design and manufacture home decor.

How did it feel when you heard you won the award?: It is an absolute honor. I am ecstatic. This prestigious award is because of the team we have built here. We have the best group of people working together at JennyGems.

What best practices or lessons came out of the COVID-19 pandemic?: We learned to change, adapt and retool constantly. We always need backups in place for equipment, tools, processes and people. The pandemic environment was unlike any other time in business for us.

What is something you wish you knew before going into business?: Remove all emotion from business decision-making. Find a team of mentors. Eliminate team members who are not a good fit swiftly. The wrong employee will be disruptive and can become a cancer to the workplace. Cash flow is key.

Have you worked with SBA and how? Loans or assistance programs?: Yes. We received mentoring from Jim Provo of the SBA for several years. We also received the COVID EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan).

What are some resources you’ve used/would recommend outside of SBA?: I receive support from Bill Pfaff, the Sussex County economic director, and Linda Price, the executive director of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce.

Why did you choose to locate your business in Delaware and your local area?: I have resided in Delaware my entire life. We are originally from New Castle County, and once our children moved away, we relocated to the Sussex County beach area.

Any advice for a new entrepreneur?: Be frugal and plan for financial challenges. Don’t be afraid to network and ask for help. Social media is your friend, especially if you have a low marketing budget. Never stay complacent. Things will go wrong, and mistakes will happen — stay positive.